The President of Greece Katerina Sakellaropoulou raised the issue of war reparations during her visit to Germany on Thursday.
At her meeting with her German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, she stressed “the utmost importance of the issue of war reparations and the occupation loan.”
She added that a dialogue on the issue “will be to the benefit of both countries and the resolution of past disputes will help strengthen bilateral cooperation for the future.”
Germany owes Greece 278.7 billion euros in war reparations
In April 2015, Greece evaluated the war reparations to be the equivalent of 278.7 billion euros (equivalent to 389 billion euros in 2023 or $420 billion).
While several German politicians and members of the Bundestag are calling on the federal government to compensate Greece financially for the effects of the Nazi occupation, the German government insists that the issue of reparations has been dealt with.
In 1990, West Germany and East Germany signed the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany (‘Two Plus Four Agreement’) with the former Allied countries of the United States, United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union.
This treaty was supposed to close all open questions regarding Germany and the aftermath of WWII and paved the way for German reunification. Germany considers this treaty as the final regulation which concludes the question of open reparations which had been made in previous treaties such as the London Debt Agreement.
Sakellaropoulou: “excellent relations” between Greece and Germany
The open issue of war reparations aside, Sakellaropoulou highlighted the excellent relations and the prospects for even closer cooperation between Greece and Germany.
The Greek President referred to the two countries’ shared vision, which she said was based on the rule of law and repulsing all forms of revisionism.
Sakellaropoulou said her visit to Germany was proof of the excellent level of relations between the two countries and said the meeting would promote a “common perception on a series of major issues concerning the challenges of our times.”
Steinmeier emphasized the grave responsibility of politicians during the current difficult time and the prospects for the development of even closer and friendlier relations between the two countries.
He expressed his satisfaction at Sakellaropoulou’s first visit to Germany, clarifying that this had been delayed due to the pandemic, while also expressing his certainty that “intensive deliberations” between the two presidents will significantly contribute to further enhancing the already close and friendly bilateral relations.